This Smart Security Camera Uses AI to Spy on Your Kids

Ask it: "What time did my kids get home from school?" and it'll show you footage.

by Dave Baldwin
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There are plenty of reasons to install a Wi-Fi security camera inside the house: Monitor for intruders, keep tabs on the dog, stare longingly at your new beer-dispensing coffee table. And until now, the current crop of cameras satisfied those needs. But what if you need to know specifics, like, did the babysitter just bring over a friend? Is my toddler currently staging a crib breakout? How many hours did your kid really play video games after school? For that type of clandestine spycraft, you need a security camera that doesn’t just see the room. But one that knows who’s in it and what the hell they’re doing. And that’s where the new Lighthouse camera with artificial intelligence comes in.

Developed by two guys who helped build the first self-driving car, Lighthouse is a smart security camera that uses facial recognition, 3D-sensing technology, and machine learning to process what it sees and alert you accordingly. At its most basic, Lighthouse works like every other Wi-Fi camera/baby monitor on the market ⏤ it streams footage of an empty house or room to your smartphone all day. Once you teach it who everybody in that house is, though, and what they look like, it now becomes the biggest snitch in the family.

You can ask it (by voice or text) to ping you if, say, the kids come home late from school or your partner just walked with somebody you don’t… wait a minute. Yea, it knows. And will respond to your queries with the incriminating footage. Also, like any good security camera, it’ll alert you if there’s just an old ho-hum unrecognized intruder stealing your OLED flatscreen ⏤ so you can call 911 and/or set off an alarm via the app.

Because Lighthouse boasts infrared night vision and two-way audio, it can also double as a smart toddler or baby monitor. Not only will it alert you if said youth escapes the crib and tries to make a run for the living room, but it can also report back in the morning as to what time they finally fell asleep or stopped talking to themselves about the day’s events, assuming you ask it to.

In terms of privacy, the adjective “bank-level” is used to describe Lighthouse’s security encryption protocol. Which sounds safe, at least in terms of people hacking in and watching your family eat breakfast. All footage is stored on the cloud, though, so there’s always some assumed risk. Then again, it allows you to pause all recording while you’re home, so at least most of the footage will be of an empty house.

Lighthouse runs $399 for both the camera and two years of the company’s Lighthouse Intelligence subscription service, after which the latter will cost about $10 a month. Without the service, you pretty much have a basic camera. It’s currently available for pre-order online and will start tattling on families as early as September.

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